the post-apocalyptic landscape of spring/summer 15
A few weeks ago I wrote an article calling for an end to nostalgia. It was an attempt to encourage young minds to quit reblogging pics of Selma Blair and get on with urgent task of creating work that offers solutions to the problems we all face. To an...
Having existed in an alternative universe of infinite money and resources for many decades, the fashion industry came back down to earth with a bang for spring/summer 15 and found the planet had been transformed beyond all recognition. And from the shadows are marching a new breed - a far cry from the slick future predicted by our ancestors - these are keen eyed warriors and tribal nomads whose sole impetus is survival.
Take Danielle Romeril's much lauded debut LFW presentation, inspired, she says, by the image of a self-sufficient girl gang. Sitting on a replica fishing dock, models wore durable, camo-coloured workwear with multiple pockets for storing tools and rations, they embodied the spirit of survivalism in post-apocalyptic terrain. As did those models wearing any number of the collections with waterproofing at their core, from Hunter (obviously) to Marc by Marc Jacobs. Vinyl bags, plastic rain coats and rubber boots all signalled an aquatic future in which our need to look good is matched only by a necessity to stay dry.
Then there was Mary Katrantzou's barefaced female, fresh from the rock pools and caves of a world thrown back into primordial brutality, marching with wet hair from the sea's spray and dripping in coral, seaweed and crustaceans. It marked a torn-down, deconstructed departure from the painstaking symmetry and dramatic tailoring of past seasons; a humble nod to the environmental processes that we are all powerless to control.
Then from the recesses of a fallen urban metropolis, marched Nasir Mazhar's hypersexual sprites in scraps of sportswear salvaged from a lost civilisation - gliding with a quiet stealth and determination. Or the headstrong future female envisioned by Ashley Williams and adorned in a pan-ethnic collision of slogan emblazoned t-shirts and traditional Chinese dress. Street smart and stoic, much closer to the heroine depicted in the recent slew of Scarlett Johansson sci-fi flicks than the bionic woman of old.
It is survival and appropriation that underpins these collections, and seems to say that the glossy vision of a hyper-efficient, chromatic utopia is unachievable. What we have to look forward to instead is a fashion future of fighting the elements and crafting something beautiful from the relics that wash up on shores and lie fragmented in gutters along deserted streets. A world where there is no make-up, only war paint. If the looks showcased by these collections are anything to go by, there will be little need to assert ones own beauty in the future, and instead we will favour the tribal markings when collectivism is survival and co-operation is key.
Of course all this remains hypothetical, but a shift in attitude is certainly taking place and its no more apparent than Jeremy Scott's collection. The more is more maestro who sent 48 models down the runway wearing an assortment of shower caps, teddy bear slippers, fire-print cycling shorts, Benidorm 97 hair braids and multiple examples of Shrek memorabilia.
Scott seems to say, hey, who am I to tell you what to do, it's every woman for herself. In one of the most emancipatory and egalitarian statements, he tells us that anything goes and offers up an open invite to forage from the infinite wealth of human leftovers piling up around us.
It's not the simple, efficient, vision of the future we might have wished for, but in many ways, the chaotic vision painted for us by fashion this seasons is all the more beautiful for that reason.
Text Nathalie Olah
Photography Mitchell Sams